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Hunger & Poverty
For members of Pleasantville Presbyterian Church in New York state, helping people in need is what they do. It has become a part of their DNA. Certified as a Hunger Action Congregation by the Presbyterian Hunger Program in 2017, the church has taken numerous steps over the years to reach out to a community that struggles to find enough food.
It’s one thing to see or read about the struggles of people living in poverty, stretching every nickel or dime. It’s another to get a true sense of what the daily struggle is like. The First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth, Texas will be giving young people a small dose of what many low-income residents in their community deal with when it hosts a camp later this month for students in fourth through eighth grades.
Hunger is at the heart of being human. People hunger for food, for love, for belonging and for Christ himself. Feeding the hunger of humanity is why the church exists. Presbyterian churches around the country are working to creatively nourish and sustain those who struggle with food insecurity, malnourishment and poverty.
Coffee is a major agricultural product of Mexico, the beverage of choice among millions of people in the U.S., and a link in a mission partnership that transforms people in both countries.
Halfway there, but not far enough. That’s the reaction from the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP), the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and other supporters following last week’s announcement by Wendy’s corporate executives to purchase a majority of its tomatoes in the U.S. instead of Mexico. The announcement came during the restaurant chain’s annual shareholders meeting in Dublin, Ohio.
The Presbyterian Hunger Program’s (PHP) Advisory Committee gathered this spring at Stony Point Center in New York to see some of the anti-hunger work taking place there. They toured the gardens and greenhouses and heard about plans for the center to start working additional farm land nearby.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness has been on the front lines of advocacy in Washington, D.C., since 1946. Since that time, the office and its partners have worked to ensure the church’s positions on important national and international issues are communicated to those who are elected to lead the nation.
In 1993, during a study abroad program to Central America, I visited El Salvador, a small Central American nation that had just recently signed peace accords after more than a decade of violent civil war. In a unique exchange with Salvadoran youth, during a Bible study on the beach, we privileged and somewhat sheltered North American college students were interrogated about our countries’ policies and forced to reflect on our own complicity.
Workers were busy Thursday morning at the Sandy Beach Women’s Cooperative in Hopkins Village, a coastal community in southeastern Belize. This was a big day, not only for the women-owned and operated restaurant, but for the country’s Departments of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The top official was paying a visit to meet with members of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People.
The clouds opened up on Wednesday, dropping heavy rain and forcing members of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) to huddle under a thatch roof to meet with Oscar and Maria Zuniga. The couple lives and works on their farm in southeast Belize and are recipients of grant funding from SDOP.